Gentle Yoga For Seniors Physical Agility And Mental Health

This yoga  for seniors will help to strengthen bones, reduce stress, soothe the body and joint pain, and enhance balance, flexibility, mobility, and strength. Also, mental ailments like Insomnia, depression and low levels of confidence can be healed very effectively with this yoga sequence for seniors.

Because…

Yoga Is Anti-aging

 

Prolonged Mental Stress: Biggest Cause Behind Most Illnesses

Gentle yoga for seniors physical agility and mental health

Who doesn’t want to age with dignity! But as we age, the feeling of insecurity due to many internal and external factors starts hijacking our life. 

You start seeking an external support system that may or may not be available. The children have to leave the house for higher studies or in search of a job. Being a parent this may leave you emotionally weak and shattered. Very often these emotions and stress may harm your body and may cause an ailments. 

This is now scientifically proven that many chronic ailments such as IBS, constipation, joint pain, diabetes, hypertension, and more…are the outcome of prolonged mental stress.

Yoga magically holds the key to ageing well and offers a plethora of benefits for your body, mind, and soul.

Why Yoga Becomes A Necessity When You Grow Older

 

A significant number of seniors are now devoted to daily yoga practice over the other forms of workout.

According to a study in the year 2016, Nearly 14 million Americans over the age of 50 practised yoga,  significantly more than the four million in the year 2012.

As we age, it becomes even more important to incorporate some form of physical activity into our daily lives to help maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

Being a senior, with a regular exercise routine, you will feel more energetic and can help manage the aches and pains which are inevitable with ageing. 

Giving some time to mindfulness leads to an independent life where you’re  feeling your best and most secure.

Yoga is well known as one of the best forms of exercise for older adults. More than exercise , yoga is the best example of a great lifestyle. Over time you can see an improvement in  flexibility, posture, balance, endurance and mood. 

 

Benefits Of Yoga For Seniors

Gentle yoga for seniors physical agility and mental health

Best thing about Yoga is that it is customizable or can be adapted to as per your needs.

Therefore, yoga is safe for seniors of all fitness or ability levels. 

It can be an excellent way to keep your body strong and healthy without any stress on body parts or joints. Which is inevitable  from other activities like weightlifting, jogging, and even walking.

 Because all these activities are consumption based while yoga preserves everything, your health and well being included!

And it’s never too late to begin. You can start yoga at any age, but do check with your doctor if you have any chronic ailment.

Here are only some of the  benefits of yoga for older adults:

 

Maintains Better Balance

 

 Many yoga poses for seniors work on strengthening the abdominal muscles and improving your core stability; Keeping your lower body parts and joints strong such as those in legs and hips

That can help you become fearless, confident, and steadier on your feet and reduce your risk of falls.

Enhanced Flexibility

 

Yoga movements are the best stretching exercises for seniors. 

When You hold a pose for several breaths, it encourages your muscles and connective tissues to relax and loosen, which further helps to increase your range of motion.

 Research in the International Journal of Yoga Therapy has shown that regularly engaging in yoga can excellently boost the overall flexibility of older adults.

 

Maintains Bone Health

Yoga is a boon to combat the many severe conditions related to growing age such as brittle bones and osteoporosis. For older women and men, a consistent yoga routine that includes weight-bearing postures can help bolster bone strength. Some promising research has suggested that doing yoga can improve bone density in postmenopausal women.

 

Reduces Stress And Anxiety 

 

 Yoga postures, mindfulness -meditation and yogic breathing  encourages you to focus on the present and find a sense of peace. 

Research has proved that it can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and help ease symptoms of anxiety and depression. 

In a National Institutes of Health survey, more than 85 percent of people  engaged in yoga  experienced reduced levels of stress.

 

Helps To Sleep Better

 

Yoga can help alleviate sleep disturbances, which are common complaints among seniors. In a study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, adults over age 60 who struggled with insomnia participated in yoga classes twice a week and underwent daily sessions at home. After three months, the group reported significant improvements in both the duration and quality of their sleep.

 

Inculcates Enhanced Breathing

 

Yogic Breathing aka the controlled breathing  practices of yoga, known as pranayama, can expand your lung capacity and improve your pulmonary health. 

A study published in the Journal of Human Kinetics found that elderly women who practised yoga three times a week for 12 weeks saw a significant improvement in their respiratory function.

 

Sharpen Mind And Memory

Yoga helps in improving your memory and preventing various age-related cognitive issues. Doing some mild inversion poses, such as Downward Facing Dog or Uttanasana could improve the circulation of blood, keeping your mind sharp.

 

Best Gentle Yoga For Seniors

 Let’s open the Yoga Mat and start with today’s gentle yoga for seniors.

 

Surya Namaskar

 

Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutations is a set of 12 different kinds of yoga postures.

Doing just even 2 to 3 rounds of Surya Namaskara can prove to be the best yoga sequence for seniors especially to boost strength and endurance of the body.

 It also helps immensely with the process of anti-aging, improved sleep, weight management, strength, and balance among other things.

Research shows that just performing Sun Salutations can improve cardiovascular health, prevent fatigue, promote the feeling of calmness and relaxation along with encouraging a range of other mental and physical benefits.

As our body is made up of five elements and an imbalance in these elements can contribute to three kinds of dosas known as kapha, pitta, and vata dosha, very well described in Ayurveda.

Doshas are responsible for multiple diseases and problems with your body.

Regular practice of Surya Namaskar balances all three of them. You can choose from the different variants of the Sun Salutations known as Sun Salutations A and Sun Salutations C.

Find here how to do Sun Salutations and its benefits.

 

Or you can begin with the partial and less intense form of sun salutations which will go like this…Mountain Pose AKA Tadasana, Forward Fold AKA Uttanasana, Chair Pose AKA Utkatasana.

Mountain Pose and Forward Fold

Uttanasana: yoga for seniors

  • Stand tall on your feet, with palms together in front of your Heart centre.
  • Press your feet on the ground from all the corners. 
  • Take three deep breaths here.
  • Feel the earth’s gravity and imagine your feet sinking inside the earth and simultaneously receiving a lot of power from the same.
  • With an inhale raise both the hands together and come to a forward fold while exhaling slowly from your nose.
  • and fold from the crease of your hips.

 

Halfway Lift 

Ardha uttanasana:

  • Place your hands on the shin bones and flap back in ardha-uttanasana.
  • Your upper body from Crown of the head to tailbone should be in straight line.

 

Chair Pose

Chair Pose

  • Inhale and come up to the chair pose. Imagine that you are sitting on a chair.
  • Try keeping your back straight. 
  • Extend your knees and rise with an inhale.
  • Exhale to fold forward.

 

Downward Facing Dog Pose

Downward Facing Dog Pose

  • Reach your hands on the mat, and walk your feet back to come in your downward-facing dog pose, Adhomukh Svanasana.
  • Firm your legs and Palms to sink into the ground and try sending your tailbone up.
  • Let your neck relax.
  • Take your dog for a walk to relax your feet.

 

Shoulder Rolls On Knees

 

From adho mukha svanasana, come on your knees and feet for the seated postures to tone your shoulders, arms, core, and waist with following very simple gentle but effective yoga kriyas:

Garudasana

Garunasana: Yoga For Seniors

  • Inhale spread open your both arms and exhale to bring your right hand below the left and wrap them to bring your both the palms together.
  • Inhale and stretch the arms up, and exhale to bow down.
  • Repeat for reverse combinations of the hands and continue with deep breathing.

 

Twists With The Hands On Chest

Spinal Twists: Yoga For Older Adults

  • Bring your farms above the chest with an inhale twist to your right.
  • Then exhale to twist left
  • Simple Kriya works excellently on your digestive system and helps to tone the waistline.

 

Gentle Side Bends

Side Bends: Yoga For Seniors

At the same position, you can do easy side bends.

  • Inhale and touch the ground first with your right hand.
  • Come to the centre , inhale and exhale to touch the ground with your left hand.
  • Repeat for five rounds.

 

Cat and Cow Transitions

Cat And Cow Posture

  • Come on all four and do some cat and cow transitions. 
  • Inhale, scoop your back, send your head up, and tail bone up.
  • Exhale, round your back, and bring your chin to the chest.
  • Send tailbone towards the ground.
  • This single yoga posture can help to get rid of all kinds of back pain and also works best on your respiratory system.

 

Matsyendrasana

Marjariasana: Yoga For Older Adults

  • From the cat and cow posture, come to a seated posture.
  • Fold your left leg from the knees to bring your left heel near the right hips.
  • Let your right leg cross and sweep the left knee so that the right foot is beside the left thigh.
  • Place your left arm on the ground just behind you and with the right hand grab your right legs to come in your Matsyendrasana.
    • Matsyendrasana is a very gentle yoga posture for seniors. Just remember to be gentle in your approach.
    • Hold for 5 deep breaths then come to replicate on the other side.
    • Matsyasana, which is a spinal twist, helps to massage your internal organs and improves digestion, releases constipation and bloating.
  • Gradually open both the legs in front of you and shake to release then slowly transition into your Paschimottanasana.

 

Paschimottanasana

Pashchimottanasana: Yoga For 55 Plus Women

Paschimottanasana or seated forward bend exerts very gentle pressure on your abdomen to massage the internal organs, strengthens your pelvic flower and works on the base of your spine or Muladhara a.k.a. Root Chakra.

 

  • Paschimottanasana or the seated forward band may be a little bit of intense yoga postures for older adults.
  • But you can make a very tactful transition in this posture by using bit by bit bending towards your legs from the crease of your hips.
  • you can curve your back slightly to experience more like a yin yoga posture.
  • Hold for 5 to 10 breaths then come to the Sukhasana or half or full Lotus Pose to meditate with me, Yogis.

 

Mindfulness- Meditation

Mindfulness-Meditation

After your yoga practice, it is mandatory to surrender on Savasana for a minimum of 10 minutes. I always recommend a short Meditation just before that.

Keep both the palms open on your knees or Join the tips of your thumb and index finger in Gyana Mudra (please refer to the video).

  • Focus on your third eye chakra and take 5 to 10 deep breaths to relax. 
  • Once you feel centred and calm then rub your palms and touch your face to spread the healing energy from your hands.
  • You have the option to lie down on your back in Savasana, just choose whatever you feel like.

 

Wrapping Up- Gentle Yoga For Seniors

Gentle yoga for seniors physical agility and mental health

You’re never too old to reap the rewards of yoga. For seniors who are looking for a safe, effective way to enhance their physical health and overall wellness, the stretching, breathing, and meditation practices of this yoga sequence and yoga video for seniors can be a great solution.

 As you will soon realise, doing yoga regularly can result in a host of benefits for older adults, from greater flexibility and improved balance to lower stress and better sleep.


Picture Credit:

Mikhail Nilov

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